Wed Oct 18 16:33:36 SAST 2017

Vavi's position shaky as lobbying heats up

2012-05-21 12:42:06.0 | MOIPONE MALEFANE and OLEBOGENG MOLATLHWA |

THOUGH Zwelinzima Vavi has been accused of campaigning against National Union of Mineworkers general secretary Frans Baleni, he (Baleni), however, appears to remain key in arguing for the retention of Vavi as Cosatu's boss.

SIDELINED?: Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has been excluded from addressing the NUM. Picture by Puxley Makgatho
CHALLENGED: NUM general secretary Frans Baleni faces a contest from his deputy at this week's congress. Picture by Russell Roberts

Sunday World understands there are tensions in Cosatu as some leaders are lobbying Baleni or Nehawu general secretary Fikile Majola to run against Vavi at the federation's national congress later this year.

Both leaders are understood not to have shown interest as they both believe their candidacy will weaken and divide Cosatu.

Baleni is himself facing a challenge from the union's current deputy general secretary Oupa Komane when the NUM holds elections this week.

The federation's leadership squabbles are further complicated by the fact that some argue that Majola and Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini are from the same union - Nehawu - which would tilt the balance of forces in Nehawu's favour should the pair serve in Cosatu's leadership positions at the same time.

Cosatu is to hold its national congress in September while the NUM congress starts on Wednesday and ends on Sunday at Emperors Palace.

For the first time, Vavi will not address the NUM gathering.

Instead, Dlamini will represent Cosatu and will be joined by President Jacob Zuma, SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande, public works minister Thulas Nxesi and public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba.

The line-up for the NUM gathering is considered to be for leaders aligned to Zuma's bid for re-election as ANC president in December.

There is speculation that Vavi has been sidelined because of his perceived growing hostility to Zuma's presidency.

Meanwhile, the national fiscus could be deprived of billions of rands generated from the country's lucrative mining industry if the NUM has its way. The union intends to push ahead with plans to adopt a resolution calling for mining taxes to be ploughed back almost entirely into the sector, by subsidising education for the children of mine workers and to contribute to rural development.

In its draft resolution document, which Sunday World has seen, the union calls on members to publicly support the ANC's research on more state involvement in mining.

The NUM's head of parliamentary office, Madoda Sambatha said while the union supported the findings contained in the ruling party's research document, it would advance its own submissions, which it will "grapple with at the ANC's policy conference in June".

"One cannot make the assumption that once you nationalise the mines the issue of community development will be addressed. The (ANC's) report should have been emphatic in saying that taxes generated from mining should be ploughed back into the industry," he said.

Sambatha seemed to suggest that mining taxes should not go towards the national fiscus, but rather that taxes be retained in the sector.

He argues that not retaining taxes within the mining industry negatively affected the sector in the long run.

"To think that these taxes go to the national fiscus is not true. They are distributed to all other government priorities. These taxes should be used to offer free education to children of miners and others as well as towards rural development so that there are no ghost towns once mining activity has come to an end," he said.

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